Weekly Rundown

What I’m reading: I read very little this week. Best of intentions and all, but time slipped away. I did start perusing An Innocent Abroad, compiled travel wisdom by Don George and published by Lonely Planet. But, not enough to actually call it reading.

What I’m listening to: Die Winterreise by Franz Schubert. I learned of this song cycle five or ten years ago, and I listen to it every winter. It’s 24 pieces, poetry set to music, following a man’s journey into the snow to rid himself of his departed, lost love. Quintessentially German.

What I’m spending time on: The Witcher on Netflix, starring Henry Cavill. I hadn’t followed the phenomenon that is The Witcher, from a fantasy franchise based on the series of books from Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. But the show has garnered some attention, and I wanted to see what it was all about. A man fighting monsters in a world with wizards, elves, and dragons.

What I’ve shared:

Weekly Rundown

Yes, I think that has stuck. I like it. It’s kind of like my weekly check-in, but with less introspection. Just things that have caught my attention.

What I’m reading: Monsters Among Us: An Exploration of Otherworldly Bigfoots, Wolfmen, Portals, Phantoms, and Odd Phenomena by Linda S. Godfrey. I wanted to get one more seasonal read in before November. Well, what to say. Do you believe in spirit creatures, possessions, skin walkers, UFOs, or otherworldly portals? Or not? Either way, an interesting book broken down in case studies. 

Additionally, if you check out the @WerewolfReports bot on Twitter, you can keep updated on odd werewolf sightings… If you believe in that kind of thing.

What I’m listening to: Lore, from Aaron Mahnke. Specifically the Trick or Treat episodes from 2016 and 2017. But, listen to whatever you feel like. Or, watch the video series on Amazon Prime Video!

What I’m spending time with: Switching over my recording from Audacity to GarageBand. I host a radio show twice a week, which is prerecorded and aired on 107.1 WZEA. Until recently I had used Audacity. However, since updating the MacBook, my microphones don’t work for recording. There’s a cumbersome workaround, but I’d rather have a simple time making my episodes. So I’ve been looking at the GarageBand recording platform. It seems that there used to be a Podcast recording option, since removed, but it works fairly well. I’ll give it a try, and either continue on it, or switch back when the new update for Audacity comes out.

Other things of interest this week:

  • This article from Vice on what the absence of humanity would look like on Earth. It’s something similar to what I’ve been contemplating, like in Because one day we die. What do we individually leave behind? And, what as a species will be left?
  • Seth Godin on his late friend Lionel Poilane, who owned a bakery in Paris, Poilane’s  daughter Apollonia’s new book.
  • Looking to the future, my friend and I are planning a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Doubtful it will be next year, because I’m looking to do some fun work over the summer, prime hiking time. So the possible start is March 18, 2021. We’ll see how our plans go between now and then.
  • Maria Popova on Thirteen Years of Brain Pickings. A great website, with great weekly emails.
  • Another listen: Marketplace’s Conversations from the Corner Office with Walking Dead Content Director Scott Gimple.

Week’s highlights

Some of the things that caught my interest this week:

  • Brain PickingsMy Heart. The openness and closedness of a heart is one of those things I’ve pondered for several years. Long before the emotional breakdown in 2016. This children’s poem beautifully covers the spectrum of heart acrobatics in a sparse way.
  • A throwback to The OC. In this interview with Olivia Wilde she chats about the perceptions of including a queer character on the early 2000s pop culture juggernaut. (I still own the series on DVD).
  • Pollution is a problem in our National Parks. I’ve only recently begun exploring the outdoors – last three or so years. So the National Parks have grown in my purview, and I even entertained becoming a park ranger for a time. Caring for our natural resources, and the places we’ve set aside to visit the wilds, is of crucial importance.
  • Booming Broadway. The NYTimes reports, spoiler alert, another record year for performances on the Great White Way.

Authenticity

“One must know what one wants to be,” the eighteenth-century French mathematician Émilie du Châtelet wrote in weighing the nature of genius. (From Brain Pickings).

Lots of smart people have spoken or written about being true to yourself. Why is that? What is so important about being your authentic self?

There are two elements to this. The first is: an authentic person is doing that thing which she was put here to do. The feeling of absolute joy that comes from being authentic is contagious, and that’s why authentic people are viewed as charismatic, agreeable, and engaging.

Everyone has a purpose. And, according to Oprah Winfrey, ‘Your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you are meant to be, and begin to honor your calling in the best way possible.'” (Oprah’s new book, The Path Made Clear).

The other element is the concern of authenticity preventing some from showing up. As Seth Godin puts it in his interview on the Tim Ferriss show, “Which means, and this is someplace I’ve gotten in trouble before, authenticity is totally overrated, totally. That I don’t want an authentic surgeon who says, ‘I don’t really feel like doing knee surgery today.’ I want a professional who shows up whatever they feel like, right?

While I view that as a valid point, and I greatly admire Seth Godin and all the work he’s done (I’ve read a number of his books, some multiple times), I believe that this example is more about a lazy authenticity, rather than it being authentic.

The surgeon in Godin’s example is (hopefully) being authentic in being a surgeon. That’s what fuels his life. If he come in and says he doesn’t feel like doing knee surgery today, then it’s not in line with his authentic self. Or, he didn’t want to be a knee surgeon to begin with.

Authenticity, in my view, is something that will give us energy.

Now I do believe that we may find ourselves aligned to our authenticity, while not fully being authentic. That’s why you see so many Generation X and Y switching careers, rather than staying in one for their whole life. (One of the reasons.) Because they are searching for authenticity. But in the job you’re doing – the one you’ve agreed to do for the time being – you still need to show up. To do your best.